<
>

Steve Ott, goal scorer

Stars forward Steve Ott won over coaches and fans long ago with a hard-nosed style that featured more hard hits and fights than goals scored.

But Ott showed Wednesday night that he can also be a scorer in the NHL. In a 5-1 win over San Jose, Ott scored his first career hat trick, and he did it in impressive fashion: a short-handed goal, an even-strength goal and a power-play goal. He blasted a slap shot for the first goal, then deftly deflected in the other two goals.

Ott now has 19 goals on the season, tying his career high set last year. Somewhat surprisingly, the Stars' chief agitator is now tied for fourth on the team in goal scoring.

"There's not a lot of 20-goal scorers in the NHL, and it looks like he'll do that this year," coach Marc Crawford said. "I like the way he competes. ... He's got good instincts and good ability."

Looking back through Ott's bio, you can see that he once showed a shooter's touch with regularity. He scored 93 goals over two seasons (2000-01 and 2001-02) in juniors. "That was probably the last time I had a hat trick, too," Ott joked.

He's been a different player in the NHL. In seven seasons, Ott has scored only 62 goals.

But Crawford's more wide open scheme leads to plenty of scoring opportunities, and Ott is a beneficiary because of his willingness to pay the price to get to the front of the net.

On Wednesday, Ott's resilience paid off with a flurry of hats flung onto the ice. He soaked up the moment.

"It's always a good feeling," Ott said. "There's no feeling to replicate scoring a goal."